6/24/12

Weekend wrap-up

There was a wealth of valuable and credible (key word - CREDIBLE) information provided by a group of brillant individuals at the International Society of Sports Nutrition annual conference. Info presented on research, not found on blogs or from strong-minded nutrition guru's.

Whereas most of the population hears info like this "the amino acids in protein will help you recover faster after a workout", this is what I hear at the ISSN conference from the PhD's:

"Essential amino acids (EAA), particularly leucine, also have been shown to activate the mTOR signaling pathway, which turns on the translational machinery necessary for muscle protein synthesis in both rodent and human models. Recently, it was shown that EAA apparently activate mTOR via a unique class 3 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), hVps34, which stimulates mTOR by an unknown mechanism, bypassing the insulin-induced activation of mTOR through Akt. However, mTOR activation due to nutrient intake of both essential amino acids and carbohydrate (EAA+CHO) may be accomplished via the insulin-stimulated signaling pathway through PI3K-Akt-TSC2 as well as the insulin-independent amino acid-induced pathway just described (i.e., hVps34).
More recently, we measured mTOR signaling and muscle protein synthesis after ingestion of a leucine enriched EAA+CHO solution. After ingestion of EAA+CHO, muscle protein synthesis increased ~100% within 1 h. The rapid increase in muscle protein synthesis was associated with a significant increase in Akt and mTOR phosphorylation as well as phosphorylation of downstream components S6K1 and 4E-BP1, indicating that translation initiation was enhanced. In addition, eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF2) phosphorylation decreased significantly compared with base-line, suggesting that elongation of translation was also stimulated by this leucine-enriched “anabolic” nutrient solution.
Postexercise nutrient ingestion, in the form of EAA alone or in combination with carbohydrate (EAA+CHO) has clearly shown that muscle protein synthesis is elevated above that measured following resistance exercise alone."
(Source) - this research study specifically was not discussed in the conference but there was a lot of great recent research on leucine and protein for increasing protein synthesis.

Certainly, this is heavy duty stuff for even me to understand in terms of fully understanding the mechanisms of action...I'll leave that to the PhD's. However, in my Master Degree program, we did learn a lot in term of HOW nutrition and exercise affect the body, specifically on a muscular and chemical level.

And, I must add that this is why it is so very important for the public to consult a qualified professionals to help with training, nutrition or health for research can answer questions but it doesn't answer all questions. Science must always be applied to real world situations and it can certainly be confusing and misleading when bloggers, websites and guru's are citing every single research study OR can not adopt the information in a real-world setting.


Although I didn't completely remove my clinical dietitian/RD hat at this conference, I am leaving this two -day conference with an abundance of information on nutrient timing, supplements and exercise physiology. As a professional in the field of health and wellness, I can firmly say that my ongoing (and always evolving) philosophy and POV with diet and exercise is supported and validated by a bunch of great research presented this weekend....specifically on the topics of a plant strong diet, not avoiding carbs, consuming quality protein, prioritizing sport nutrition before, during and after training consuming dairy in the diet. And, to the relief (or surprise) of many there was absolutely no support or discussion on ANY diet that restricts or limits carbohydrates (aka "carbs are bad" in order to increase lean muscle mass or to improve performance and I strongly caution anyone who chooses to follow a mass-marketed diet that severely restricts critical nutrients in order to boost performance and help with health and body composition.

Now, I will say that EVERY individual has his/her own prescription for the distribution of macronutrients in his/her diet but this should not come with a list of dietary rules or off-limit lists that make you feel restricted or guilty. I strongly support a balanced diet - I believe fat, carbs and protein should all be consumed as macronutrients within a plant-strong micronutrient-rich diet. ...for health, body composition and performance gains.


I have a great appreciation for professionals who provide sound advice and this is why I choose to treat my athletes and fitness enthusiasts as individuals and do my best to keep up with research and apply in real world settings. I'm so excited to take all this amazing info and continue to help others fuel for life and for sport. I am also happy to have a roller dex of emails and go-to contacts for when I need a second opinion or clarification for a research study or topic.

I am very excited to sum-up the conference as there was SO much awesome info I just couldn't help but soak it all up....in an effort to help all you athletes and fitness enthusiasts that have athletic, health and body composition goals. I may be a RD, but I am an exercise physiologist at heart. It is this nice balance that allows me to (legally) help individuals reach all types of body-related goals.


Speaking of exercise physiology...my "long" run on Saturday morning was a successfully challenging one. I stayed with one of my athletes at Clearwater Beach to help me save some time from driving an extra 2 hours (there and back) to my parents on Friday evening. I still didn't have a lot of time for training on Sat morning so I did what I could and focused on what I "CAN" do. I normally bike before I run but there wasn't enough time before my 9:30am conference + 90 min run (plus making sure I didn't sacrifice too much sleep because we all know sleep can make or break consistent performance gains) so I did about 10 min of active running drills before my run plus a solid warm-up around the streets of Clearwater Beach.

Mentally, this workout wasn't bad because I love running on new roads. Physically, the workout was tough but doable.

1:20 - 1:30 run
(instructed no more than 12 miles by Karel if my distance was reached before the time)

3.5 mile warm-up
Main set:
3 x 1 mile mid to upper Z3 (or holding 7:10-7:20 pace goal) w/ 45 sec rest.
4 min EZ jog
3  1 mile mid to upper Z3 (same pace as above) w/ 30 sec rest.
4 min EZ jog

Cool down

For nutrition:
Pre-workout 45 min before
*Piece of flat bread + smear of PB + banana slices, 8 ounces water + cup of coffee w/ skim milk.
(Typically I have toast before my run specific workouts but since I was not biking before, I know I need a little lighter carb choice on my system but one that still supplies a similar amount of carbs to toast)
*During workout:
1 bottle water and 1 bottle w/ 1.5 scoops HEED (Hammer) at my "stopping" point. I refueled after warm-up (sipping sport drink and using water to rinse mouth and cool body) and took a sip to simulate aid stations between every interval.
*Post workout:
12 ounces - 8 ounces milk + 4 ounces water + 1/2 scoop whey protein + handful shredded wheat cereal (had this as I was getting ready).
My amazing host/athlete, James, made me the most delicious egg omelet w/ beans, spinach, cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onion and 2 slices whole grain bread (I couldn't finish it all so I saved 1 slice of bread for a mid morning snack w/ the other half of my banana). I also had 1 FIZZ during the morning at the conference and had a glass of water with breakfast.

Stats from run:
1:27 (time)
Miles: 11.06
Average pace: 7:55 min/mile (didn't stop my watch during the workout - this includes walk breaks)
Average HR: 139 beats

Mile 1: 8:23
Mile 2: 8:00
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 3.5: 8:03
Mile Intervals:
#1: 7:08 (HR 144)
#2: 7:13 (HR 147)
#3: 7:06 (HR 150)
4 min EZ jog (8:35 pace, HR 135)
#4: 7:14 (HR 146)
#5: 7:18 (HR 149)
#6: 7:35 (HR 148) - didn't have much left so went by perceived effort...this was my 80% effort and I'll take it vs quitting and not doing the last interval
4 min EZ + cool down: 9:31 (130 HR)